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Three Ways to Stay Ahead of the Video Ad Curve in 2018

Three Ways to Stay Ahead of the Video Ad Curve in 2018


TechRadar’s managing director of games, music & video, Julian March, provides three tips for succeeding with video advertising this year in a fast-growing world of new consumption trends and pioneering formats.

It’s no secret that the scope of video advertising is continually evolving. In 2017 alone we saw platforms like Google and Facebook lead the pack with new innovations introducing unique ad formats like six-second and mid-roll ads to keep pace with consumers’ shrinking attention spans and rapidly changing viewing habits.

The IAB recently released its 2017 internet advertising revenue report showing that growth of digital video on smartphones and tablets continued, reaching $2.6 billion in the first half of the year. As digital continues to move at the speed of light, marketers face two major challenges: keeping pace with top video ad units and remaining in tune with consumers’ ever-changing viewing habits.

To persevere in today’s digital video advertising world it’s important for marketers to consider the below tips.

1. Keep it short: Adopt TV’s 25% rule

Consumers’ attention spans are short to begin with but their experience with advertising is, more often than not, unwarranted in the first place. Keep this in mind when developing content. For short clips of less than two minutes don’t ask your user to watch a 30-second pre-roll ad that’s a third of the content they’re trying to view. If you analyse equivalent ad load times in television, you’ll find commercials take up no more than 25% of a broadcast hour. Try to achieve a similar ratio with online content to keep a consumer’s experience relatable across devices and platforms. As we saw in 2017, 15-second and six-second pre-roll ads are becoming more and more prevalent as advertisers adapt to the snackable media landscape. Pre-rolls that are six-seconds long are amazingly powerful because they punch home a single thought. Marketers’ heavy ad load campaigns will provide short-term gains but will lead to long-term loss as the viewing experiences are interrupted and will drive to ad-blocking.

2. Visual creative is key to engagement: Leverage auto-roll in view

Low volume, auto-roll in-view ad formats can provide a wholly non-intrusive and engaging experience for consumers. Not only is this method more widely accepted by programmatic partners, it is resonating with the consumer resulting in more watched videos. If you create a visually engaging experience that doesn’t require elements like sound, which many viewers do not have turned on while scrolling through content, you’re more likely to keep your audience’s attention. One important caveat when utilising this method, always be sure to distinguish your brands’ creative from the video you’re asking the viewer to engage with. This could include a text headline signpost just above the player or a quick preamble to the pre-roll unit.

3. It’s more than quality content: Consider context and experience

Finally, if you’re disingenuous, misleading, or worse, downright inappropriate, you can wave goodbye to your viewers’ attention. The same goes for a poor user experience - if you can’t give your customers what they are looking for quickly, they’ll be off.  With premium publishers, you are advertising against high-quality content watched with intent rather than serendipity, and if your advertising message is relevant to your targets, they are far more likely to stick around, and with any luck, they’ll appreciate it. Marry campaign relevancy with effective playlisting to provide a second, third and fourth video to watch combined with another relevant mid-roll, and your viewers will forget they had somewhere else to be three videos ago.

Digital advertising is only going to become more complex as new devices and ways of consuming content disrupt the consumer journey. This is the year marketers can get ahead of the curve by adopting old-school creative thinking with the advanced technology and wealth of data they have at their fingertips.

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Julian March

Julian March

Julian March currently serves as MD games, entertainment, music and video at Future plc, parent company to top brands including TechRadar and PC Gamer. March is also an award-winning digital publisher specializing in innovation and transformation, growing audiences and profit. Previously he served as senior vice president of Digital at NBC News, responsible for NBC News' digital business. During his time at NBC News, March contributed to doubling the company's video audience. March also had a brief to innovate within the organization, which stretched from cultivating a couple of network-owned start-ups to launching the world's first cross-platform newsroom collaboration tool. Prior to NBC News March was at ITV serving as Head of Digital Media for News & Sport, leading the relaunch of ITV's digital properties in Sport and News. Before ITV he spent 11 years at Sky News, first on the TV side, executive producing the channel's TV output, and subsequently as head of digital, spearheading newsroom transformation to a multiplatform organization. At Sky, March won 3 Royal Television Society Awards for Innovation, on TV and web. March is married to a former BBC correspondent, and they have 2 children together. He speaks 4 European languages, he's obsessed with cycling and plays the drums.

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